The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a game of lost potential through frustration, sluggish controls and aimlessness

I’m always a little saddened after catching glimpses of a good game buried beneath poor handling.

Past the game’s opening tutorial, an interesting investigate-em-up is teased through puzzle solving, opening locked doors, following blood trails, and eventually delving deep into the fractured memories of a lost soul.

Benedict Fox and his accompanying inner demon – which gave me serious Jackie and the Darkness vibes, by the way – are on the case to explore the decaying memories of the dead, delving deep into a world of horror and torment.

Their back and forth conversations, of exploring and breaking down the fundamentals into finite detail are key to players understanding more about Fox’s abilities and the overall intentions of the game.

And I think that’s the most frustrating thing of all because the setting, the concept and aesthetic, all of it is actually great. A little bit of lovecraft, elements of noir. This is a smartly designed, seemingly well told story, which had franchise potential if I’m being completely honest.

So it’s certainly an interesting approach to tie it all together in a Metroidvania. And therein lay my first issue with the game is that the approach just felt jarring. There was no obvious, enjoyable synergy here and repetitive jumping up between platforms, over holding on buttons and an overall sense of aimlessness quickly became tedious.

All the core, enjoyable components of a Metroidvania are just lost in the midst of bad checkpointing, limited bullets, a double jump that only works on occasion – I’ve never seen anything like it – and a weird insistence on melee combat which feels about as ineffectual to a menacing eldritch terror as a pinch on the arm.

Oh, and when you get hit by enemies, you’re pushed to the floor and stun-locked, leaving you open and vulnerable to any enemies around without the ability to retaliate. Throw in some bugs and glitches and chances of death are pretty high most of the time.

The other big problem is you encounter so many locked doors and puzzles you can do nothing with early on you genuinely forget where to go and the game does not want to help you with map markers, guidepoints or anything of the sort.

The biggest issue, however, was control. Everything just feels so weighted and heavy, which goes at odds with aiming your gun, feathering the thumbstick ever so gently in order to hit your enemy just right. Plus to start out, you get one bullet. So if you miss, you’re a bit screwed, have to resort to the god awful melee and watch your limited health supply get munched.

There is a parry, at least, and a duck. But both, for some unknown reason, are on a timer, so you’re often inadvertently standing up right in the line of fire at the wrong time, or your shield goes down at the wrong time and will see you take a ton of damage.

Later game does at least give you the chance to upgrade components and make some tweaks through a tarot card system, which makes this one of those odd games where it gets easier the further you go along, but forces you through slog in its opening moments, the key time to get people invested in your game.

Sadly for Ben Fox, it will probably lose its audience way before that, particularly when players are forced to fight a boss early on that’s about as unbalanced and unattuned to the early stages of a game as it gets.

So, for me, this is a game of lost potential. There’s glimpses of something really enjoyable here, a title that could really have shaken things up in the Indie space, plus it looks great. Sadly, the controls and gameplay flow just aren’t enjoyable enough to recommend. Add in design issues and it all just continuously manage to frustrate.


The Last Case of Benedict Fox has a fascinating concept with a smart setting that looks absolutely beautiful, but you almost feel like it would have been a better fit in another genre entirely. This Metroidvania is absolutely jarring with its heavy, tank-like controls, very confusing design choices, frustrating combat, and an overall feeling of aimlessness. A real shame. 


+ Stunning aesthetic
+ Intriguing setting


– Controls are clunky and heavy-handed
– Bizarre design choices that try to be too clever but just fail spectacularly
– Harsh initial difficulty curve that’s unrelenting and unwelcoming 

The Last Case of Benedict Fox is now available on PC, and Xbox Game Pass.

Code Kindly Provided by Rogue Games

Played on Xbox Series X

About the author

Jay Jones

Jay is a massive football fan - Manchester Utd in case you were wondering - and lover of gaming. He'll play just about anything, but his vice is definitely Ultimate Team.
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